The Gospel of John as Holy Spirit Field Guide

February 28, 2017

John 4:10-15

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” 

CONSIDER THIS

I think of John’s Gospel as Jesus’ Holy Spirit field guide. Scan back through the text so far and you will see it clearly, and there is oh so much more to come. The Lord revealed to John concerning Jesus, “‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’” (see 1:34). Jesus taught Nicodemus that he must be born by water and the Spirit, noting, “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” (3:6). Jesus is the one, as we learned last week, “in whom the Spirit dwells without measure.” (see 3:34).

Today, in this arid scene at high noon, Jesus does it again. He comes to a water well to teach us about the well of the Holy Spirit. Note the curious opener:

“If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

What is this “gift of God?” You already know what I think. The Gift of God is the “Life” in the living water. The Gift of God is the Life in eternal life. The Gift of God is the Life of God in the Soul of Man, to borrow the title phrase from Henry Scougal’s classic work. The gift of God is nothing less and nothing more than the Holy Spirit.

Jesus wants to introduce us to the unseen reality of the person of the Holy Spirit.

Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Remember proud Nicodemus, hiding in the cover of night, sneaking through the shadows of his discontented soul, knowing there must be more to this life than the respectability of his religious reputation. “How can this be,” he quizzically asks Jesus.

And now this nameless woman of ill repute, slinking in shame to the ancient well, hiding at high noon, her wounded soul parched by a scorn she knew all too well. She knew there had to be more to this life than what she had known. She pleads, “Where can you get this living water?” 

All of us are somewhere on the spectrum between these two extremes. We mostly live in the mediocre middle attuned to neither our pride or shame, settling for the status quo of whatever we think life and faith should be. Might we get in touch with our discontent, name it, and settle for it no longer? Must we reach the point of desperation to make a move? He will wait, but aren’t we more than tired of wasting his time? Aren’t we weary of wasting ten more of our numbered days?

If I know you, I suspect you are with me. And if that’s the case, then we are with her:

Sir, give me this water. . .”

THE PRAYER

Abba Father, thank you for your son, Jesus, who reveals your heart for us and who gives us the Holy Spirit. Teach us the ways of your Spirit that we might walk in the power of love. We pray in Jesus name. Amen.

THE QUESTIONS

1. Here’s the question to which we must become piercingly honest: Do I know the gift of God?

2. If I know the gift of God have I become convinced there is more of this gift that I don’t know than I do know?

3. If I have become convinced there is more of the gift of God that I don’t know than I do know, what will this mean for me going forward?

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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. jd.walt@seedbed.com.

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